Eight-year-old Dimitri and his nine-year-old sister Savannah Soulos are making a huge impression on the tennis circuit and have both set their sights on becoming professional athletes, already putting in the hard work and showing endless dedication.
The dynamic and talented Greek Australian siblings began playing tennis with their father Jason at the young age of three and four, and turned heads from back then as their talent was evident from the start.
“At the age of 15 months we noticed Dimitri had excellent eye- hand coordination and we felt he was definitely going to become an athlete, more than likely in a sport where he uses his hands,” says mum Sophia.
“Savannah has natural athleticism that helps her adapt to many sports including dance and she is very coordinated, flexible and naturally quite strong,” she adds.
With many accolades under their belts and bringing home 1st place trophies regularly in regional events, both Dimitri and Savannah recently won the Division 3 in Sydney’s local Haberfield competition. Dimitri also claimed the ‘Undefeated Trophy’ for the entire competition and in the mixed doubles.
While other children at school were receiving iPads and gadgets for birthdays and Christmas’, Sophia and her husband Jason decided they wanted to steer their kids away from computer games and made a conscious decision to develop their fine motor skills, keeping them as physically active as possible.
“We encouraged them from an early age to hit or kick a ball,” says Sophia.
Their coaching and training began with two sessions per week but as soon as their passion and drive kicked in, the practice increased and now consists of one-on-one coaching five to six times each week.
“Sessions usually go for one and a half hours each, sometimes in the mornings before school, or after, so that they can fit it in to their busy schedule, which also includes soccer four times a week,” Sophia says.
Both Dimitri and Savannah have made their dreams and goals well known, telling Greek City Times they wish to become professional tennis players and are preparing to join the international circuit when they become older.
“The journey to becoming professional is long, requiring a lot of dedication, hard work, sacrifice and financial support. We will do all we can to make sure they realise their dreams,” Sophia says.
When Dimitri was asked whether he wants to compete against his idol Roger Federer one day, he responded, “I don’t want to play him, I want to smash him!”
Whereas Savannah says her inspiration is Serena Williams, “I love her power and her never- give- up attitude.”